Emart, the largest retailer in Korea, had opened the country’s biggest shopping mall, Starfield, and was preparing to launch its second location. This time, Emart turned their eyes on retailtainment—a novelty for the Korean market. Emart approached Continuum to design a one-of-a-kind kids’ complex to serve as an anchor store that would drive families to consume more and elevate Emart’s brand as a retail trailblazer.
Research & Insights
Research & Insights
1) Understanding Misunderstanding
Korean parents often think that the amount of time kids spend exploring an object or an activity is directly correlated with their level of interest. We learned that this is a misunderstanding. Parents fail to consider that children might want to relax, or even take a break, during playtime. Children are tired of parents forcing play objects on them and instructing them on how to play. They desperately need a place to escape, explore, and even create their own interests.
Kid-Focused Sorting Criteria
We helped Emart develop the overall theme, service design, and space guidelines for the Toy Kingdom, Emart’s new retail and experience space. We organized the environment according to kids’ interests, as opposed to toy brands or character content. Various zones in different themes—such as Roof Rush and Play Factory—offer a wide range of experiences to children in different age groups. The Toy Kingdom’s boundless design layout fosters children’s autonomy in exploring their own interests. By creating a kid-centered environment—and curating products according to each stage of child development—this strategy ultimately led to the purchase of toys that parents feel will help their children grow.
Building child’s own play
We envisioned a place that helps children discover their own interests and respects their different tastes and curiosity, by letting them navigate their own paths. To this end, we designed a concept of analog future—a kind of world still being operated by analog methods and sensibility. Now understanding the basic principles of how the world we live in is built and works, kids create new kinds of play and make variations, as opposed to playing according to a script written by adults. As a result, this experience of creating something new is at once as entertaining as it is educational.
More than 50% of parents willingly purchase play-time extensions to let their children play longer and explore their interests in greater depth.
The Toy Kingdom launched successfully. Selling kid-focused experiences—a first in Korea—and then selling the tangible products played with in those experiences, Emart has developed a smart business. The toys being sold in the Toy Kingdom store are curated to help children identify the items they had just held in their hands and advance their interest in similar items.
As a result, over 85,000 parents and kids visited the Toy Kingdom Play during just four months since the launch, while the Toy Kingdom store ranked No.3 among retail stores inside the Starfield Shopping mall in generating revenue during the first weekend. Inevitably, the Toy Kingdom Play will help position Starfield as a top-of-mind destination for Korean families, and encourage them to be immersed into the Starfield lifestyle.